Marketers champion integrated agency model

Leading marketers agreed less is definitely more when it comes to working with agencies and that too much time can be wasted in managing agency processes.

BA print ad developed by BBH

Three marketers who are all working in non-traditional ways with agencies spoke at last night’s (2 September) OysterCatchers’ event called Shaping the New Brand/Agency Model.

Head of marketing for British Airways Abi Comber, who recently reviewed and consolidated her agency roster, said that her new set up delivered far more integrated ideas and creative execution.

She added: “We were not getting integrated thinking and I wouldn’t [expect to] get it if I briefed multiple agencies. We used to spend a lot of our time bringing everybody together rather than on the actual issues. … now it’s far more about ideas, not advertising.”

“For me the idea has to be at the heart of everything and we spend more of our time talking about ideas rather than managing the process and bitching about each other’s diaries.”

Philip Gladman, who recently vacated the role of marketing and innovation director Africa at Diageo, said, stressing it was his own view, that Diageo had too many agencies and there were often five agencies working on one brand.

However, he added that the drinks company did have many different brands, ranging from premium to mass market, which required different creative approaches unlikely to be provided by one agency.

Gladman said that this approach really need a strong, creative minded marketing director to keep several agencies on the same track and added: “The percentage of time we get to spend on creative directing is getting less all the time because marketers are dragged into so many different facets of the business. There is a direct correlation between the time a senior marketer gets to work on a business and the creative output.”

Gladman, who is now leading a marketing team parachuted into Hovis on a short term contract, added: “I have always believed in the meritocracy of agencies and have always tried to find who is the hottest and newest – I have followed teams from big agencies who have formed start-ups.”

Ian Armstrong, global marketing communications director for Jaguar, which has a joint venture set-up with agency Spark 44, added that the big challenge was to dig out the compelling stories that existed around the brand and develop them with the agency.

He said while Spark 44 was set up to service Jaguar it has a remit to find other client business and he welcomed the ‘kick up the pants’ other marketing directors could give the agency. 

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here